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Thunes and Visa Expand Digital Wallet Partnership to Asia and Africa

Thunes and Visa

Cross-border payments firm Thunes is expanding its partnership with Visa into Asia and Africa.

The new collaboration, announced Thursday (March 21), will see Visa tap into Thunes’ network to send payments to over 108 digital wallet types and bank accounts throughout countries that include Kenya, the Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Thunes will also implement Visa Direct’s push-to-card capability, to allow for payouts made to eligible Visa cards and accounts across more than 190 countries and territories.

“Digital wallets are an easy-to-use, rapid, and secure payment method surging in popularity. More than 60% of the world’s population is expected to use them by 2026,” the companies said in a news release, noting that a growing number of banks are working with Visa to add cross-border payout capabilities to digital wallets.

“Increasingly, these financial institutions see mobile wallet interoperability as a vital way to optimize payments to their consumers and business customers,” the release said.

The release notes the collaboration follows Visa and Thunes’ initial team-up in October 2022 to extend Visa Direct’s reach to 1.5 billion digital wallets. In addition, Visa invested in Thunes’ $60 million Series C extension round in July of last year.

Visa has inked some other partnerships in this space recently, including one with FinTech Brightwell, which is using Visa Direct to allow payouts to eligible bank accounts and wallets across the international stage.

Visa also teamed with CIBC to help that bank’s clients send remittances across borders more conveniently to digital wallets held in the Philippines, China, Bangladesh, Kenya and other important remittance destinations.

“Payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard are uniquely positioned to underpin the pivot toward better cross-border fund flows,” PYMNTS wrote earlier this year. “Their networks have already scaled, and their endpoints and acceptance points already number in the billions.”

Meanwhile, research by PYMNTS Intelligence has found that just 23% of smaller businesses say that current cross-border payment solutions are “very or extremely satisfactory.”

Still, data show that close to 40% of smaller businesses saw an increase in cross-border payments sent or received between 2020 and 2021. The trajectory of those payments is climbing as well, as more business happens outside of their home countries.